Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

GUEST WRITER: DANIEL SHERWIN

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How to Teach Children to Practice Self-Care

Self-care is an important factor in mental health. A 2018 study by Aetna showed that over one-third of people had goals for stress reduction or mental health. Teaching your kids self-care activities gives them better coping strategies to support mental health.

Crank up the Tunes

Listening to music can have psychological benefits. It can help you relax, feel energized, deal with stress, and simply feel happier. Cranking up your kids’ favorite songs, whether you sit and listen or dance along with them, is an easy form of self-care you can do anytime. 

Get Creative

Creating art is a method of expressing yourself. It’s a way kids can get out feelings of sadness or anger. Plus, it has a sensory element. Try having them mold clay or finger paint and display the artwork to give your kids a sense of pride. Visiting West Seneca’s Burchfield Nature & Art Center can spark creativity.

Move Your Body

Does your little one get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day? Some kids are naturally active, while others prefer screen time overworking up a sweat. Help your kids get a boost of endorphins to feel happier by staying active as a family. Play at the splash pad at Veterans Park Aquatics Complex, skate at the West Seneca ice rink, or have a dance party.

Meditate and Breathe

Sitting still to meditate might be challenging for young kids, but having kids meditate can help them tune into their feelings to control stress before it leads to a tantrum. Kids’ guided meditation videos on YouTube offer a guide. Teach your kids to take slow, deep breaths, especially when they’re feeling anxious or upset.

Show the Importance of Gratitude

It’s easy to get stuck on things that go wrong. A regular family gratitude practice refocuses the attention on the good. Each night, have each family member tell about something they’re grateful for. Kids can also write or draw in a gratitude journal daily.

Make a Calm-Down Box

If your child has trouble with strong emotions, make a calm-down box with little toys and sensory objects that can help. Examples include pinwheels, fidget toys, snow globes, stress balls, and putty. Manipulating those objects can help defuse a situation so you can talk about their feelings calmly.

Volunteer

Taking care of others can be a powerful self-care activity. It takes the focus off yourself and makes you feel good about helping. Find simple family volunteer opportunities, such as stocking the West Seneca Community Food Pantry monthly.

Model Self-Care

The effects of stress include poor focus, emotional outbursts, fatigue, and social withdrawal. Starting a self-care routine can reduce those effects while setting a good example for your kids.

If you’re a business owner and don’t feel you have time for self-care, making small changes can help. Zenbusiness recommends these methods:

  • Outsource tasks or delegate to your team.
  • Reduce workplace distractions to get more done.
  • Spend your most alert time, usually in the morning, on larger, more pressing tasks.
  • Set boundaries to improve work-life balance.

Teach Self-Care

Starting with a self-care routine from a young age teaches your kids to put their health and well-being first. If you or your kids need more support, explore options for individual, couple, and family counseling at Help for Healing in West Seneca.

Author: Help for Healing

My name is Darcy Thiel. What people say they appreciate most about me is my genuine nature. I utilize my professional and personal experiences to increase my understanding and compassion to help others. My career has many faces, so let me tell you about a few. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NY State and am a couple and family therapist. As an Adult Planning Specialist and End of Life Doula, I take my experiences with my parents’ and husband's illnesses and passing to help others navigate the crazy, complicated medical world we live in. This dovetails with the books I have written. Bitter and Sweet: A Family’s Journey with Cancer, the prequel to Life After Death, on This Side of Heaven is an honest and raw perspective on coping with the diagnosis and subsequent loss of Tim, my spouse. I have done extensive speaking on the above topics through live audiences, radio shows, and an occasional TV spot. For more information, see my websites at www.marriageandfamilycounseling.net, www.babycooppublishing.com, or www.darcythiel.com. Copyright Help for Healing by Darcy Thiel © 2012-2019. All rights reserved.

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